Lifeline for stranded Chobe hippos

15 August 2019 | Disasters

An emergency borehole has successfully been drilled to pump water into a Chobe River pond, where about 68 hippos are stranded in the drying river.

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta confirmed that the borehole was drilled on Monday to help save the 68 hippos, as well as crocodiles that are struggling to get out of a pond in the Chobe River between Botswana and Namibia.

He said as of Monday the borehole was already pumping 12 000 litres of water per hour into the pond, and this was likely to increase by Tuesday.

The ministry confirmed the stranded hippos at the beginning of this month, saying the river is drying up and breaking into little ponds, and that the 68 hippos are in one of them.

Ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said at the time the water was becoming very shallow and that talks were underway between Namibia and Botswana to save the animals.

He also said a helicopter assessment was being undertaken to verify whether there are any other similar situations in other parts of the Zambezi and Kavango East regions. The assessment is likely to be completed by the end of the month.

In 2016, about 100 hippos were also stranded in the Sampisi River channel, which flows from the Linyanti River in the Zambezi Region, due to the severe drought and poor rainfall experienced at the time.

The ministry then conducted an assessment and resolved that fast intervention was needed to prevent the situation from deteriorating and the animals dying.

The ministry also decided back then to drill boreholes to pump water into the ponds and river channel, so there would be enough available water for the animals.

ELLANIE SMIT

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